The Curriculum at MCS
The new national Curriculum for Wales is a purpose-led curriculum. The Four Core Purposes of the new curriculum will help learners to be:
Ambitious and capable, ready to learn throughout their lives.
Enterprising and creative contributors to life, ready to play a full part in life and work.
Ethical and informed citizens of Wales and the world.
Healthy and confident, ready to lead life to the full and be valued by those around them as valued members of society.
Purpose-led does not mean that the curriculum lacks rigour, knowledge or the development of subject-specific skills. Instead, the Four Purposes provide us with a framework in which we work. We always keep the purposes in mind, as well as the individual ambitions, interests and potential of every student at MCS.
Students will always be taught in subjects. Subjects matter. They have an important body of knowledge, specific skills and belong to a rich tradition that is unique to them.
“As civilised human beings, we are the inheritors, neither of an inquiry about ourselves and the world, nor of an accumulating body of information, but of a conversation of humankind, begun in the primeval forests and extended and made more articulate in the course of centuries.”
In order for students to think critically, to form their own opinions and to be introduced into these “conversations of humankind” it is necessary to have something to think about. Skills cannot be developed in a vacuum. Our responsibility under the Four Purposes is to ensure that students acquire powerful knowledge, develop their skills and so have the opportunity to become capable, creative, informed and confident members of society.
Subjects are grouped into Areas of Learning and Experience (AOLE) under the new Curriculum for Wales. These are:
Health and Wellbeing
Languages, Literacy and Communication
Mathematics and Numeracy
Science and Technology
KEY STAGE 3 - Years 7, 8 and 9
In Year 7, students follow a curriculum that focuses on two main priorities. First, it introduces students to the rich variety of subjects on offer at secondary school, some of which they will have never encountered before. Second, it focuses on developing literacy, numeracy and digital competencies, led by their Form Tutor as well as through their subjects.
Students gain expertise and are assessed in their literacy, numeracy and digital competence to become more confident and independent learners. This transitional year provides support to all students in their learning journey through the school.
In Years 8 and 9, students continue to develop their literacy, numeracy and digital competencies as well as continuing their subject studies. The broad and balanced curriculum provides an excellent foundation for further work.
Year 9 students progress onto a number of Key Stage 4 core programmes of study and GCSE specification when ready. GCSE and BTEC decisions are made in Year 9 through a comprehensive Key Stage 4 Pathways decision-making programme.
All Key Stage 3 students also study our Integrated Curriculum, which covers a wide range of topics including Study Skills, Health and Wellbeing, Personal and Social Education and the World of Work.
KEY STAGE 4 - Years 10 and 11
In Years 10 and 11 everyone must continue with the core subjects. This is a legal requirement of the National Curriculum. Beyond these core subjects, there is some choice so that individual interests and talents can be developed.
THE CORE CURRICULUM
Games and Physical Education (students may also take PE or Sports Science as an optional GCSE subject)
Students continue with Integrated Curriculum time in Key Stage 4, studying Health and Wellbeing, the World of Work, careers options and other topics,
As well as this, students are supported to achieve the Welsh Baccalaureate. This qualification is achieved as follows:
Achievement in GCSE and BTEC subjects
Achievement of Skills Challenge Certificate
This is the opportunity for students to develop particular interests and aptitudes. Students tend to work with the greatest commitment in subjects they enjoy and succeed in.
In addition to the core subjects, students opt to follow three other subjects. Most subjects are studied for two years.
Some students may opt for a reduced number of GCSEs and take advantage of extra learning support on offer. Other students might choose to take additional subjects. We support every individual student in adapting their personalised curriculum to their interests, potential and needs.
If students are totally unsure of which direction to take, it is recommended that a variety of subjects are selected. Experience has shown that many young people change their minds between the ages of 14 and 16. By keeping a balanced choice, they make sure that they have not shut the door on future options. Whilst expertise and enthusiasm in one area is valuable, versatility and adaptability will be important in a fast-changing world. A student may find a subject hard or unappealing at 14, but grow to see its value as they later develop their ability and interest in it.
In recent years, over 85% of Year 11 students have gained five or more Level 2 qualifications at grade C or above. This percentage is well above the National average. The minimum level for going on to A Level, advanced vocational courses or direct entry to many careers is six of these ‘higher grades’ including English or Maths.
Whatever the qualification, every student will have to complete course based tasks that count towards their grade from the earliest stage of their course. Full commitment and attendance are essential and are the norm at Monmouth. Ambition and desire to succeed must be coupled with hard work and a relentless commitment to their studies.
QUALIFICATION TYPES AT KEY STAGE 4
Most of the two year courses in Years 10 and 11 lead to a GCSE. This is graded from A* to G for each subject.
Grades at A*-C are classified as being at Level 2, while grades D-G are classified at Level 1.
Many GCSE courses include an element of school based Controlled Assessment as well as formal examinations.
Diplomas and BTECs
These qualifications are highly valued by employers and institutes of Higher and Further Education.
We offer Level 2, Level 1 and Entry Level Qualifications in a range of vocational areas such as ICT, Catering, Engineering, Sport or Art.
Our highly popular Sixth Form achieves exceptional results year-on-year and is regularly in the top 10% of Sixth Forms in the country. It has a rich and diverse curriculum offer, so that we are able to cater for a broad range of interests and pathway aspirations.
The Welsh Baccalaureate offers a wide and diverse programme of study at Sixth Form level, which develops independent learning skills required for Further Education and the workplace.
The majority of students will select three advanced courses to study alongside the Welsh Baccalaureate (WBQ). Some students will wish to study four advanced courses plus WBQ and these students will be supported during their transition process.
The Integrated Curriculum in the Sixth Form is constructed around a series of 'challenges' through which students develop a range of transferable study skills required to be successful in Further and Higher Education and the world of work. The 'dissertation style' Individual Project enables students to extend their skills beyond A Levels and BTEC Diplomas, and is excellent preparation for further academic or technical study.
As well as a wide range of A Levels, the Sixth Form provides BTEC Qualifications in Engineering, Business, Sports Science and Health and Social Care (equivalent to one, two or three A Levels).